Dejah, The Warrior

I hardly know this young boy who impacted my life and so many others so profoundly. What kid is all that interested in their mother’s friends anyway? And so, I came to know him mostly through her, our Glo.

She is that quintessential statement of strength and courage, which can almost sound like a cliché, but it isn’t when it’s applied to a parent facing one of all our worst fears.  Which is what happened to her and she, true to character, faced that nightmare fully and head-on.

He was only three years old when they were told he had cancer.  It was horribly bad news.  Most kids who get this kind of cancer have a pretty good outlook, but for some the challenge will push  to the limit.  This was to be the case for him.

I can’t imagine having to look at my baby’s sweet innocent face, and into his trusting eyes, knowing what they knew was to come for their son, and try to prepare for that.  How unbearable could it have felt to know the awful truth of what was in store in some ways, and not have any idea or certainty about anything else?

The only thing that turned out to be absolutely certain is that this kid had something else too – a hell of a fighting spirit. Those innocent eyes masked a strength that could rival a grown man’s, and that was good because he used it fully. It was what carried him beyond the lines of expectation.

As it turned out, his backup arsenal was also beyond outstanding.  His shield of steel was the love and faith of his mother, and his dad and sister were the center of his phalanx.

Phalanx is a perfect word for his story.  I’d stumbled around for a while looking for a way to describe all the people who joined the power of this boy’s circle. My son said, “That sounds like you’re talking about a phalanx, mom”.  I asked what that was exactly. After he explained, I thought yes, that’s exactly what they are.

A phalanx is defined as a compact or close-knit body of people, a formation of infantry carrying overlapping shields and long spears.  Perfect.  That’s what they were – overlapping shields of love and spears of hope. The rest of that foundation was formidably filled out by all the family and friends who rallied around them.

No matter their role as those weapons of love and hope, every one of them, including the calvary of determined medical personnel was there in common spirit.  All were there to throw everything they could at that God-damned tumour.

They did it well for ten amazing years.  It wasn’t a smooth trip for sure, but they fought those ups and downs with purpose. He and his family were also determined to instill something meaningful into what would seem to be a senseless, painful ordeal.

He moved to the center of an organized effort to finally stop cancer in children.  He and his family charged alongside an organization called Kick For A Cure, whose role is to fund the research that will finally “kick cancer where it hurts”.

Part of the fight for a full life was trying to be just a boy who could play and learn like everyone else. Why should any child have to fight to be just a 5 year old or an 8 year old? The balancing act to just be and to be a helper in the bigger picture becomes another unexpected fact of life, a new normal.

The day came when balance was made impossible, and it became an effort to just hold on – to a few more hours spent wrapped in the bond of fighters who’ve survived together for so long.  To a few more minutes of saying I love you, and for that one more heartbreaking second to look into each other’s eyes.

When children get so sick, when they die, we are all devastated.  We cry and feel deeply because for those moments, born to us or not, they all become our babies.

Maybe we ask God or the Universe, why or how?  Maybe one day we’ll have all the answers, but for now, at this moment, I need to believe that the Universe said these things to him:

Thank you, Dejah.

Thank you for enduring the pain of the fight for so long.

Thank you doing for so much work in such a short period of time to inform and teach about childhood cancer.

Thank you for all that you’ve given and taught to your mom, dad, and sister.

Thank you for all that you’ve given and shown to your family and friends.

Thank you for the sacrifice you gave to medicine that will one day make this illness less devastating for another child.

Thank you for the way you brought your community together over and over again, and got them all thinking about love, and for reminding them that, it is the only true purpose.

Your work is done Dejah, and it was done in superhero excellence.

You are finally pain free, rest for a time in the warmth of your family, and then dance wildly in joy.  You’ve earned it, kid.

You will always, always, be a kick ass hero.

Dejah Milne
February 4, 2000 – October 5, 2013

Dejah's last profile picture on Facebook

Dejah’s last profile picture on Facebook



To Gloria, Bob, and Rayne, and all of Dejah’s beloved – you all know how much you are loved here and in heaven.  Know that hundreds, if not thousands, forever carry Dejah in their hearts too.

I love you. I love you. I love you.


About Blog Woman!!!

Once in a while I can rock a thought. I simply believe in what I stand up for. I'd most like people to know that surviving the trials of mountains and monsters is more than resilience - it’s a path to your destiny. On a mostly weekly basis I throw out a grab-bag of facts, ideas or creativity; like a box of chocolates wrapped in ribbons of occasional profanity.... In other words, it's my party I can fun if I want to. So, waddya say, can we talk?
This entry was posted in All-Time Top Ten, Childhood Cancer, Heroes, Life, Life & Death, Non-Fiction, Tribute and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to Dejah, The Warrior

  1. Lora Vazquez says:

    This is about Dejah Milne, but it is about all children who battle this ugly disease and about their loving and supportive families. It is beautiful and, I hope, comforting. Thank you, Robyn Lawson.


  2. Linda Fahie says:

    thank you for the words,,words we all would have liked to say,,thank you


  3. Joanne says:

    you words are so powerful and amazing…thank you so much!!!


    • Thank you so much Joanne. It really was just a filling out of friends talking on the back step. You are such a wonderful supporter of your friends, even sometime writers. Thank you.again.


  4. Jaye's Brain says:

    Deeply inspirational, beautifully written.


  5. Maria Patricia Gonzalez says:

    Wonderfully said…. THANK YOU DEJAH……


  6. Sandy Whitfield says:

    This was very well written, my sister and my family lived this nightmare too when my 4 yr old nephew was diagnosed with Burkett’s Lymphoma .He fought a hard fight , my family and his community came together to rally around an amazing young boy and his mother-my sister. We know we were luckier then most and Brian has lived on to 21 yrs now . He has fought a few more battles but he is and continues to be a strong man who has overcome his disease and continues to be a case study to assist future generations and outcomes of this terrible disease. My sister continues to be an advocate for childhood cancers and they both are my biggest hero’s.


    • What a story Sandy, but also what a relief to hear that your nephew is a thriving survivor. I often hear, and I suppose repeat, that it’s not that life won’t challenge us, it’s about who we are when it does. Kudos to your sister and her son, and how kind of you to be so supportive of them. Thanks so much for reading Dejah’s story.


  7. Beautiful and very touching post. Glad I found your work here.


  8. ksbeth says:

    wonderful and hits the heart )


  9. If you get a chance take it – excellent advice


  10. Beautiful post. Poignant , it made my day richer.Thank you 🙂


  11. jaggh53163 says:

    Blog Woman!!! – May you continue to gain strength from Dejah and his phalanx… what a truly inspiring post… thank you to JT Weaver for the re-blog, or I wouldn’t have found you… and thank you for Dejah’s last Profile Picture on Facebook… definitely WORDS TO LIVE BY.


  12. Mike says:

    Talk about powerful and evocative. And so tenderly and wonderfully written. Deeply sad as well.

    Liked by 1 person

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